Women’s groups demand justice in 2015 abduction
WOMEN’S rights groups are demanding action in a year-old case involving the abduction and torture of a teenager from North Okkalapa township.
The Myanmar Positive Women Network and Akhaya Women Myanmar say that the sentencing is taking too long and have organised a protest in Tarmwe township on the new sentencing date, September 15.
In September 2015, the 18-year-old was abducted by her boyfriend, 32, who chained her feet, beat her and cut her with a knife. The woman survived and her mother reported the case to the North Okkalapa police.
“We do not want to wait anymore,” Myanmar Positive Women Network chair Daw Htwe Htwe Myint said. “We want justice in this case. It has been a year. In this case, there is strong evidence that the girl suffered from the violence.”
The trial began in November 2015 and was scheduled to conclude with sentencing on August 30, 2016 but the date was pushed back to September 15. The man faces up to eight years in prison.
The organisations hope the lengthy trial period will conclude with the coming sentencing.
“When the court moved the sentencing date, we worried that action will not be taken against this crime,” said Akhaya Women Myanmar case manager Daw Win Win Khine.
At the protest, which has received a permit from the police, about 25 people will speak about violence against women and demand justice for the victim.
“A problem with our society is that people would rather blame the victim than urge punishment for the person who committed the crime,” said Daw Htwe Htwe Myint.
Asia Justice and Rights said in a statement that evidence shows that not enough is being done to address domestic violence.
“Violence against women is widespread,” Daw Win Win Khine said. “These days, the most common type of violence experienced by women is perpetrated by an intimate partner.”
The Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement began drafting a bill to prevent violence against women in 2012, but it is yet to pass into effect. The law would criminalise domestic violence, and includes a definition of marital rape.